This is the first year I’ve participated in an organized food fundraiser, much less one in San Diego. I guess you could say it’s been a exciting year for me in the food community. Getting to help on a cookbook, a trip to NY, a fancy dinner promotion, and now this. It’s been such fun and I’m glad to have the opportunity to help in any way I can.
Alice Q. and Caron are spearheading a fundraising event for the San Diego Food Bank’s “Food 4 Kids” backpack program this holiday season and San Diego area bloggers are joining in to help! I’ve even secured a pretty neat prize for the raffle, so make sure you read all the way to the end!
The San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program was launched in 2007 to provide food to get chronically hungry elementary school students through the weekend. Every Friday, participating children receive a backpack with child friendly items such as peanut butter, pop-top canned goods, cereal, juice boxes, fruit cups, raisins, pudding cups, granola bars, shelf-stable milk and macaroni and cheese tucked inside.
The children receive free or reduced cost meals while school is in session, but do not have food available on the weekends or school holidays for themselves and their siblings. Food 4 Kids provides food directly to the children, without requiring their parents to receive a referral to a local food pantry, pick up food at the pantry or prepare it at home.
In order to qualify for the program, students must attend a school where at least 80% of the population receives free or reduced cost lunch, and receive a referral from their teachers. During the 2008-2009 school year, the program served just 200 chronically hungry elementary school children in eight schools located throughout San Diego County. The need is much greater. As an example, the pilot program at one school in 2006 served 250 children alone.
The economy has been hard on all of us this year, but it has been hardest on those who were already struggling. Charitable donations are down, and hunger in San Diego County is up. Those of us who love food and view it as a pleasure are so fortunate to be in that position. The least we can do is try to ensure the children of our community don’t – quite literally – go hungry.
With this goal in mind, San Diego’s food bloggers and other members of the local community are coming together to raise funds for the San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. A little goes a long way – the program costs approximately $7.00 per week per child to fund, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year. Giving whatever you can afford will help to ensure this program continues to provide a much needed service.
As an added incentive, several food bloggers will be hosting prizes to be awarded in a drawing at our live food and backpack drive at our booth at the Little Italy Mercato on December 12, 2009. We will also be collecting non-perishable, child-friendly food items and backpacks. Come and meet your favorite food bloggers, drop off your donations and celebrate the Holidays at the Mercato!
Suggested donation items:
- A medium-sized neutral design backpack, preferably red in color.
- Toothbrush and kids toothpaste
- Coloring books
- School supplies (pencils, paper, pencil sharpeners, markers, crayons)
- Nutritious kid-friendly foods, such as fruit roll ups, granola bars, boxed packaged food items like cereal, crackers, nutrition bars, pop top canned goods such as applesauce or other fruit, ready made macaroni and cheese and other easy convenient items.
Now, for the prize! David Leite has generously agreed to donate a signed copy of his cookbook, The New Portuguese Table for the raffle. Not only is it a beautiful cookbook with drool-inducing photographs, but it was well-tested by a team of recipe testers who also test for his site (and I was one of them!) The recipes work so well, you could throw a dinner party and not worry about doing a dry run with a single recipe. I can say this because it’s exactly what we did. We used recipes from the cookbook for our Pre-Holiday Dinner Party and every single dish came out perfectly! I even used recipes I didn’t test out the first time! Come back to see pictures and hear what we thought of the food.
So, don’t forget to donate to the Food 4 Kids program if you can, either through the donation site or in person and the live donation drive, December 12, 2009. All donors on the Firstgiving page will be eligible to win prizes sponsored by local businesses, bloggers and individuals.
Thank you so much for your contribution, and Happy, Happy Holidays!